Sermon #1691 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: All Fulness In Christ
Text: Colossians 1:3-23
Subject: The Infinite Fulness of Christ
Date: Sunday Evening — July 1, 2007
Tape # -32b
Readings: Merle Hart and James Jordan
Tonight, I want us to go back to Colossians chapter 1. I want to take one more stab at proclaiming the message of this great chapter. — All Fulness in Christ.
A long, long time ago there was a preacher of whom we know very little. Yet, we really know everything about him that we need to know about any preacher. We are told that he was “a faithful minister of Christ.” If God will give me the grace to be “a faithful minister of Christ,” it will be alright with me if you forget my name. I want nothing else in this world, but to be “a faithful minister of Christ.”
While Bro. Epaphras and the Apostle Paul were prisoners together at Rome, Epaphras told Paul all about his dear family at Colosse. Though he told Paul plainly of his fears for them and prayed earnestly for them, that they might “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God,” yet when Pastor Epaphras spoke of his brethren at Colosse, he did so in glowing terms of love. He talked about…
Paul was so overwhelmed by Epaphras’ report about the saints at Colosse that he fell in love with them, prayed for them, and wrote to them one of the most blessed, instructive letters in the New Testament. I want to call your attention to what I consider to be one of the most rapturous, glorious, awesome descriptions of our Lord Jesus Christ to be found in all the Bible — Colossians 1:9-19.
Look at Paul’s prayer for God’s people (vv. 9-11).
(Colossians 1:9-10) “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (10) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Having heard so much about them from Epaphras, Paul said I constantly pray for you, and this is what I seek from the throne of grace on your behalf. — “That you might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
“That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.”
Illustration: “Don’t forget who you are and whose you are!”
Characteristics of Faith
In verses 10-13, we are given seven characteristics of the life of faith (vv. 10-13).
(Colossians 1:10-13) “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every (1.) good work, and increasing in the (2.) knowledge of God; (11) (3.) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all (4.) patience and (5.) longsuffering with (6.) joyfulness; (12) (7.) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
In verses 12-14, Paul breaks out into thanksgiving. As he was writing to the Colossians about giving thanks, his heart welled up with deep gratitude to God and he began to give thanks to God.
(Colossians 1:12-14) “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Then Paul’s gratitude and thanksgiving turns into praise (vv. 15-18).
(Colossians 1:15-18) “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
When he spoke about grace and redemption in Christ he could not resist the opportunity to extol and magnify his Savior.
He is before all things; and by him all things consist.
In essence, Paul is telling us that God almighty has put all things into the hands of his Son, as our Mediator, “that in all things he might have the preeminence!” (v. 18).
Now the reason for all of this is stated in verse 19 — “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell!” I want us to camp right here for just a little while that we may adore and worship our great God and Savior. I can think of no better way for us to begin this conference. O Spirit of God, come upon us and give us grace to worship our blessed Redeemer!
Proposition: In this text of Scripture Paul teaches us that it is the purpose and pleasure of the triune God that all the fulness of grace and glory dwell in the Lord Jesus Christ, our God-man Mediator and Savior. — Whatever we get from God we receive of his fullness (John 1:14-16).
(John 1:14-16) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (15) John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (16) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
This great, instructive chapter is all about our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s great salvation in him. The Apostle Paul seems to be almost at a loss for words when he describes what a great God and Savior our Lord Jesus Christ is. Did you notice that over and over again in this chapter he uses the word “all” to describe him? Now “all” is a very little word; but it describes very big things.
v. 16 — All things were created by him.
All things were created for him.
v. 17 — He is before all things.
By him all things consist.
v. 18 — God the Father has given him preeminence in all things.
v. 20 — All things shall be reconciled to God by him.
Now, look at verse 19. I want to milk it all I can. — “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” When Paul writes, “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” he means for us to understand that there is in the Lord Jesus Christ a superlative, infinite, immeasurable wealth of grace and glory. He is an artesian well of fulness. Everything is in him.
All Fulness in Him
First, I want us to see and rejoice in the fact that all fulness dwells in Christ. — “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” — Here are two mighty words; “fulness,” a substantial, comprehensive, expressive word in itself, and “all,” a great little word including everything. When combined in the expression, “all fulness,” we have before us a superlative wealth of meaning. How I thank God for those two words.
What a word of comfort this is for us poor, bankrupt sinners! — By nature we are all emptiness and vanity; but all fulness is in Christ. In us there is an utter lack of merit before God, a total absence of power to gain merit with God, and a complete absence of will to obey God, even if we had the ability to do so. But in Christ there is “all fulness!”
O my heart, rejoice in this! O my soul, dance before the Ark of God! Everywhere else in this universe there nothing but barrenness and emptiness. — “Vanity of vanity all is vanity!” But, blessed be our God forever, he has provided all fulness in Christ. In us there is all emptiness and utter vanity. — “In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing.” But in Christ there is “all fulness!”
As I said, in us there is a lack of all merit, an absence of all power to procure any, and even an absence of will to procure it if we could. Our nature is a desert, empty, and void, and waste, inhabited only by sin, darkness, and death. We are all emptiness; but in Christ dwells all fulness!
· Are you dead? – Christ is Life!
· Are you sin? – Christ is Righteousness!
· Are you naked? – Christ is Clothing!
· Are you hungry? – Christ is Bread!
· Are you thirsty? – Christ is Water!
· Are you dirty? – Christ is Cleansing!
· Are you blind? – Christ is Light!
· Are you weary? – Christ is Rest!
· Are you a debtor? – Christ is Ransom!
· Are you helpless? – Christ is Strength!
· Are you guilty? – Christ is Pardon!
· Are you a prisoner? – Christ is Liberty!
· Are you condemned? – Christ is Deliverance!
· Are you emptiness? – Christ is Fulness!
Let me ring this bell again, “all fulness.” Christ is substance, not the shadow of fulness. —Fulness, not the foretaste of fulness. —The reality, not the picture of fulness! — Let me show you what I mean. — The Old Testament types are instructive, but not saving. The ordinances and ceremonies of the law pointed us to One who would put away sin; but they could never do so. Those sacrifices were beautiful, costly and impressive; but they could never satisfy the justice of God, silence a guilty conscience, or put away a single sin.
· Christ is all the fulness of all the Old Testament types and pictures (Hebrews 10:1-14).
(Hebrews 10:1-14) “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away one stain;
But Christ the Lamb of God
Takes all our sin away,
A Sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they!
You can be sure of this. — If those rituals and sacrifices ordained by God could never put away sin, what you do certainly can’t! — Christ is all fulness!
(John 1:14-18) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
· Christ is all the fulness of the law.
(Romans 10:1-13) “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
· Christ is all the fulness of all God’s eternal purposes (Romans 8:28-31).
(Romans 8:28-31) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
C. Let me give the bell another ring. — There is in the Lord Jesus Christ all the fulness of the Triune Godhead (Colossians 2:9-10).
(Colossians 2:9-10) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
Jesus Christ the Man is the eternal God, possessing all the attributes of divinity. Obviously, his manhood is neither eternal, omnipotent, nor omnipresent! Yet, his manhood is so united with his Godhead that that Man who sits in glory is himself God. He is “the mighty God!”
Still there is more. — All the fulness of the infinite, triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, resides in the body of that Man who died at Calvary and now reigns over all things. Jesus Christ is God! Jesus Christ is all of God we now know, and all of God we shall ever know! Jesus Christ is all there is of God! We are Trinitarians (1 John 5:7). However, all the triune God resides in and is known only by Jesus Christ, in whom all fulness dwells.
· Yet, there is more, and this, I am sure is Paul’s primary intent. — All the fulness of grace is in Christ! This “all fulness” is in Christ mediatorially. It is in Christ for us!
As the result of our Lord’s mediatorial work as our Surety, Substitute, and Representative before God, as the result of all that he has done in bringing in everlasting righteousness, in putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and in the redemption he accomplished at Calvary, all fulness dwells in him. — All fulness for us toward God — And all fulness for us from God!
All fulness for us toward God dwells in Christ. I mean by that statement that all that God almighty requires of us dwells in Christ, perfectly and perpetually.
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
And all fulness for us from God dwells in Christ.—”Of his fulness have we received, and grace for grace!” I say to you, saints and sinners alike, everything you need, everything your soul requires is in Christ, our all-glorious, all-sufficient Savior! With confident joy we sing…
Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find!
(Romans 8:32) “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
(Ephesians 1:3-7) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
What do you want? What does your soul need? It is in Christ. All fulness dwells in Christ! Go to Christ for your soul’s need!
* A New Heart? * A Broken Heart?
* Faith? * Repentance?
* Life? * Preservation?
* Cleansing? * Comfort?
What mortal tongue can express this infinite bounty? All fulness is in Christ! And this Christ is ours! — “The Lord is the Portion of your inheritance and your cup!” Try to get hold of this. — If you are in Christ “all fulness” is yours! —Infinitely yours! —Eternally yours! —Presently yours! —What can you lack?
(1 Corinthians 3:21-23) “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”
In Christ Exclusively
Second, all fulness dwells in Christ exclusively. —”It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell!” — Those are very specific and exclusive words. “In him should all fulness dwell,” in him alone, in him and nowhere else! —There is no fulness to be found…
All fulness dwells in Christ! Only in Christ! Let us therefore extol, praise and honor Christ alone!
(Psalms 115:1) “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
All fulness is in him, infinite, incomprehensible, divine, saving fulness, all of it is in Immanuel! God has placed all fulness in his Son. Where else could he put it? All fulness is in Christ radically. It cannot be had anywhere else.
· It is not in his doctrine, but in him.
· It is not in his Word, but in him!
· It is not in his blood, but in him! It is not in his righteousness, but in him!
Listen to me. — It is the Person of Christ that gives worth, weight, merit, and efficacy to his Word, his offices, and his Work, not the other way round! Would you get this “all fulness?” You must get Christ! Christ alone is…
Third, in Colossians 1:19, the Holy Spirit tells us that all fulness dwells in Christ exclusively because “it pleased the Father!”
(Colossians 1:19) “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”
Notice that the words “the Father” in italicized letters, indicating that there are no corresponding words in the original text, but that they were added by our translators. They were very properly added, because it is the special work of God the Father in the covenant of grace to give all things into the hands of God the Son as our Mediator.
All fulness dwells in Christ because the Father loves the Son.
(John 3:35) “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”
God the Father loves the Son and is well pleased with him as our Mediator.
(John 10:16-18) “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Therefore he put all fulness in him. It is most wise, proper, and just that the Father put all fulness in Christ, because he earned it! It is most gracious that the Father put all fulness in the Son, because he is one of us! — There’s a Man in glory! Now, turn back to Ephesians 1:23. I want you to see something great.
(Ephesians 1:15-23) “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, (16) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; (17) That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (18) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Christ is the fulness of all things, so much so, that the Holy Spirit here declares he “filleth all in all.” But did you notice what he says about us? As our Mediator, we are “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” What a statement of absolute security that is! Without us, without even a single member of his body, Christ the Mediator would be incomplete. John Calvin wrote…
“This is the highest honor of the Church, that, until He is united to us, the Son of God reckons himself in some measure imperfect. What consolation is it for us to learn, that, not until we are along with him, does he possess all his parts, or wish to be regarded as complete!”
It pleases the Father that all fulness dwell in Christ for the security of his people. — All the blessings of God’s covenant and grace are sure to his elect, and all the promises of God are yea and amen because all fulness is in Christ!
· Not in Adam!
· Not in Moses!
· Not in Us!
It pleased the Father that all fulness dwell in Christ because the Father is determined that his Son have all preeminence in all things.
(Colossians 1:18-19) “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”
(Philippians 2:8-11) “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Always in Him
Fourth, all fulness dwells in Christ, and dwells in him exclusively; and all fulness dwells in him always. — It is in him at all times, past, present and future. — “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”
All fulness has always been in Christ. — He is our eternal Savior There never was a time when God the Father looked anywhere else for the satisfaction of his justice or the blessedness of his people (Revelation 13:8; Ephesians 1:3).
· In Eternity!
· When we fell in Adam!
· When he Ascended!
The Lord Jesus Christ is an inexhaustible Barrel and an inexhaustible Cruise from which we may draw all the needs of our souls forever.
(Hebrews 4:16) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
· His fulness is infinite!
· His fulness is perpetual!
· His fulness is accessible!
· His fulness is free!
· His fulness is for sinners!
All fulness shall dwell in Christ forever! — If it is the glory of Christ now for all fulness to dwell in him, it will be his glory forever for all fulness to dwell in him! Our great Christ is all the fulness of heaven. He is the blessing and the blessedness of that fair land flowing with all fulness from him forever. Christ is heaven!
(Revelation 5:9-14) “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (10) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
Christ is the prize we seek. Christ is the crown we shall wear. Christ is the reward of his people. What more could we need or desire? Christ is heaven. If I have Christ, I have all. I want no more! He is my glory. He is my joy. He is my righteousness. He is my life. He is my Incorruptible Crown!
Yes, Christ is all in heaven. The foundation of that city is Christ. The gate to that city is Christ. The light of that city is Christ. The joy, bliss, and happiness of heaven is Christ. The praises of the redeemed in heaven for all eternity are the praises of Christ. The reward of God's saints in heaven is Christ himself. Heaven is Christ and Christ is heaven to my soul.
What does all this mean to us?
(Colossians 1:20-23) “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”
· He has made peace through the blood of his cross.
· He will, one day, reconcile all things to God.
· He has reconciled us to God.
· He will present us faultless before the presence of his glory.
Come to Christ. Trust the Lord Jesus Christ, our all-glorious Savior, and getting him, you get all fulness forever!
Face to face with Christ my Savior,
Face to face--what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.
Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a blessed day is coming
When His glory shall be seen.
What rejoicing in His presence
When are banished grief and pain,
When the crooked ways are straightened
And the dark things shall be plain.
Face to face! O blissful moment!
Face to face--to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!
Illustration: The Estate Auction — The Son’s Picture
(Jude 1:24-25) “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.”
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